Northern DragPak Dimension 

Drag racing’s very refreshing new era of modern day Factory muscle cars includes  strong Canadian participation.  Since their introduction, some of Mopar’s innovative DragPak options are fast emerging north of the 49th parallel…

The first one and also one of the latest DragPak Challengers to be released for racing within Canada are based from Ontario.  Ottawa-based father and son Rick and Derek Atwill and husband and wife Bob & Sue Andrews (from Burlington) are filling those roles.

For Derek Atwill who grew up watching his dad Rick race, a Dodge DragPak is but the latest machine campaigned within his family’s drag racing history.

“I started racing at age 16 but at age 28 we put racing on the back burner to concentrate on building up our business,” Derek, Operations Manager of Atwill Service Center, explained. “Then after some years of hard work it was time to get back into our favorite sport of drag racing. We saw that the introduction of the new Dodge Drag Pak was a perfect opportunity. We researched the DragPak online and started making inquires with calls to Mopar and our local dealer – Jean Meloche at Ottawa Dodge.  Then after some waiting the car was completed – with the body being built in Brampton and the finishing touches being applied at Roush Racing in Detroit.”

Atwill Service Center Drag Pak

Atwill Service Center DragPak

“Later we took it to Michigan’s Mike Pustelney (MPR Race Cars) to have the roll cage and rear end installed.  John Donato (Donato Engineering) completed the wiring, fuel injection, gauges and transmission.  The engine went to Jeff Taylor who went through it and prepped for the first full season of racing.  Many improvements have been done since both here (Atwill Service Centre) and by Mike Roth at MR2 Performance.”

The Atwill’s have experimented and campaigned their 100% self sponsored car with various engine configurations offered by Mopar, including 6.4L 6.1L and 5.7 L options for legal competition within NHRA’s Stock eliminator.

Canada’s first Dodge Challenger DragPak has also been impressive since coming on the scene.  That list of accomplishments includes #1 qualifiers at Napierville’s NHRA National Open two years in a row, a #2 qualifier during NHRA Supernationals in New Jersey and a number #1 qualifier and class win during Reading’s Dutch Class event in 2011.  Last season, Derek won his class at NHRA’s Maple Grove national event and had a strong placing in A/SA class racing during the MacTools U.S. Nationals at Indy. 

2013 will see Derek, Rick and his crew (which also includes Sean Forrest,  Phil Morgan,  Clary McMullen & Dave Oneil) continue their journey forward with the car focusing within NHRA’s Lucas Oil Northeast Division circuit as well as making scheduled appearances at the NHRA National events at New England and Indianapolis.

(For more information on Atwill Service Center

Bob and Sue Andrews, who are both Professors within the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto, use drag racing and their Dodge Challenger as a very cool diversion from that demanding schedule.


U of T Professors Bob and Susan Andrews campaign this new Dodge Challenger DragPak

Originally from Western Canada, Bob has a history of racing Mopars brand cars including a 1970 Roadrunner and Coroner R/T (both 6-Pak cars) in the Edmonton area during the early 90’s. He decided to jump back into racing in late 2011 upon the completion of his new Challenger DragPak car order.

“We acquired our DragPak car through Wellington Motors in Guelph, Ontario,” Bob confirmed.  “Our dealer Mike Woods (a great supporter of Mopar) picked up the car directly from Chrysler and delivered it to Smith Performance Specialties in Cayuga.”  

Fred Smith and the guys at Smith Performance then did all of the chassis fabrication, detailed completion and engine work on the car, including time on the dyno. All exterior graphics were done by Dan “The Sign Man” DeLaney in Tonawanda, NY.”

Both Bob and Susan are fully licensed to race after completing the Frank Hawley Drag Racing School at Norwalk last summer.   But so far since it’s debut Bob has been the primary driver while Susan’s focus is on downloading the data between rounds.   The team made limited testing outings in 2011 before being a frequent runner within Ontario’s Can-Am Stock/Super Stock circuit last year – finishing in the middle of the pack in that season points chase championship.

“The performance of the car has been excellent,” Bob added.  “We can’t thank Fred and Victoria Smith enough for their help in getting the car running in the high 9.80’s at over 137 mph while setup to run in A/SA.”

The team’s 2013 season plan is to target all of the Can-Am events in Ontario was well as participation at some select regional NHRA and IHRA events.   

New Canadian DragPak cars are being debuted Canada wide -- including Drayton Valley Alberta's Garry Nelson who qualified #1 at IHRA Edmonton last summer

Editors Note: New Canadian DragPak cars are being debuted Canada wide — including Drayton Valley Alberta’s Garry Nelson who qualified #1 at IHRA Edmonton last summer

Posting and Photos by:  Bruce Biegler